Obama Names Financial Regulatory Team

President-elect Barack Obama named Mary Schapiro to be the head of the Security and Exchange Commission during his administration and former Treasury official Gary Gensler to head the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speaking from Chicago, Obama said the "failure of oversight and accountability doesn't just harm individuals involved, it has the potential to devastate our entire economy and that's a failure we can't afford.

"These individuals will help put in place new, common sense rules of the road to protect our entire economy from fraud and manipulation by irresponsible people," he said.

Daniel Tarullo, a law professor at Georgetown University, will fill the open seat on the Federal Reserve Board, he added. FOX News confirmed separately that Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk will become his U.S. Trade Representative, an announcement could come Friday.

Schapiro will take the helm at one of the most difficult times in the commission's history. It's been criticized for lax oversight and enforcement, and for failing to spot signs that major Wall Street banks were in trouble. The criticism has intensified amid the new scandal involving disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff.

Schapiro currently heads the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a non-governmental regulator for securities firms.

She was first named an SEC commissioner by President Ronald Reagan. Schapiro has also been appointed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Gensler served as a Treasury official in the Clinton administration. He was a senior adviser to former Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes as Sarbanes co-authored legislation to increase oversight of the accounting industry and reform corporate governance. Gensler was also an adviser on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's exploratory committee.

The CFTC is an independent agency created by Congress to regulate trading in the commodity futures and option markets.

Tarullo, 57, was President Bill Clinton's top adviser on international economic policy and is one of Obama's economic policy advisers.

Two vacancies exist on the seven-member Federal Reserve Board, which manages the nation's money supply.

All three positions must be confirmed by the Senate before they can take their roles. Obama said he announced the positions early to demonstrate his commitment to regulatory reform.

On Tuesday, the Fed slashed its key interest rate to as low as zero and pledged to use "all available tools" to prop up the sagging economy.

Thursday's press conference was his fourth this week as he seeks to finalize much, if not all, of his Cabinet and other key positions before heading to Hawaii for a holiday vacation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.